- USA defeats the Netherlands in penalties to advance to Olympic semifinals
- Team USA will face Canada in the semifinal on Tuesday
- Winner will face the winner of Sweden-Australia for Olympic gold
It hasn’t been easy, but the US women’s national team is still alive in pursuit of a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. On Friday, the American women advanced in dramatic fashion with a thrilling shootout victory over a Netherlands team that had been arguably the most impressive team of all since the tournament began.
Things got off to a rocky start for the Americans as Vivianne Miedema gave the Dutch an early lead with a goal in the 18th minute. The strike was Miedema’s ninth since the Olympics began, which extended her own single Olympics record. However, the veteran-laden US side bounced back from there when Sam Mewis supplied an equalizer just 10 minutes later. Lynn Williams then gave Team USA its first lead of the game with a goal of her own in the 31st minute.
Miedema wasn’t done yet, however. The dangerous Dutch striker bagged her second goal of the game with a strike past the diving Alyssa Naeher in the 54th minute to level the game at two goals apiece. The two sides both had their chances from there, but the game finished tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
Naeher’s Extra-Time Heroics
Alex Morgan and Christen Press both found the back of the net in extra time, but both goals were taken off the board after they were ruled to be offside. Lineth Beerensteyn scored an offside goal of her own for the Dutch side. Neither team scored a goal during the 30-minute extra session, which set up a penalty shootout.
From there, Naeher was the star. The American goalkeeper stopped Miedema’s penalty before Rose Lavelle, Morgan, and Press converted their own attempts. Naeher then saved Aniek Nouwen’s penalty attempt, which set up Megan Rapinoe to seal the deal for Team USA. Rapinoe subsequently blasted her attempt into the upper-right corner of the net to send the Americans through to the semifinals.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 30, 2021
After her heroics, Naeher said, “This team just kept pushing for 90 minutes, 120 minutes, and we just kept believing that we were going to find a way to get it done. Very proud of the four players to step up and score their four penalties to go 4-for-4. That is huge.”
USA Favored Over Canada To Reach Final
Team USA was a slight +140 favorite coming into the game, while the Netherlands were listed at +180 on the moneyline to win the game in regulation. Team USA went just 1-1-1 in the group stage with a loss to Sweden and a scoreless draw against Australia. The Americans crushed New Zealand 6-1 in the second round of the group stage, but the team’s performance left many questioning whether this generation of players had enough left in the tank to seriously challenge for Olympic gold.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, came into the match feeling confident. The Dutch team scored a total of 21 goals in their three group games against Zambia, China, and Brazil, with Miedema doing most of the damage.
The United States will face Canada in the Olympic semifinals on Monday, August 2. Canada advanced 4-3 on penalties after playing Brazil to a scoreless draw in regulation in their own quarterfinal clash. The US has opened as an early -165 favorite on the moneyline, while Canada is at +450 to pull the upset.
The other Olympic semifinal clash will pit Australia against Sweden. Sweden, who beat the Americans 3-0 in the group stage, is a -155 favorite. Australia comes in at +450 on the moneyline.